Urban chicken amendments approved in Kings County

Kirk Starratt
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Raven could be taken from his Kingston home because of a county bylaw.

People living in urban and hamlet residential zones in Kings County are now allowed to keep chickens and roosters as pets under certain conditions.

Kings County council has approved amendments to the Land Use Bylaw and Animal Control Bylaw that will permit people to keep up to five urban chickens in low-density residential zones. This can include any combination of roosters and hens.

The fowl will have to be housed in a chicken coop not more than six feet high. Since coops will be considered accessory buildings, residents will need development permits to build them. Up to two coops are permitted on a single lot.

However, permits aren’t required for the chickens or roosters. The sale of eggs and meat from the birds is prohibited and it’s illegal to slaughter urban chickens.

A number of controls were included specific to roosters, as noise from early morning crowing can be cause for concern in residential neighbourhoods. The minimum lot size for a residence with roosters is three acres. Coops must be at least 50 feet away from the neighbouring lot line. This is a firm separation distance that can’t be varied. Residents must also keep roosters inside in the early morning, from 4 a.m. to 8 a.m.

An avenue has been created through the Animal Control Bylaw to address unreasonable noise. Roosters could be impounded for persistent crowing.

Alex Loomer’s pet chickens Flame, Rocky, Ace, Flash and Raven became local celebrities in early 2012 after someone complained about the birds. The County of Kings began enforcement action against Loomer for keeping the four roosters and a hen on the 30-acre property in Kingston where he lives.

However, the municipality stayed the legal action after a great deal of media attention and public outcry. Council instead decided to undertake a county-wide bylaw review, leading to the amendments.

Organizations: Kings County council, Land Use Bylaw

Geographic location: Kings, Kingston

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  • dg
    December 22, 2013 - 14:13

    It's great that this council we have has taken steps to curb folks from keeping live animals, chickens or hens or pigs for that matter, in their yards, now let's get back to the real business of running things. I've been asking, pleading, even cursing, to have someone demand my neighbor clean the garbage in his yard, but there's nobody home in that department. Rodent causing garbage that directly reduces my property enjoyment and value. I'd be happier if they were raising pigs. HELLO, anyone out there?